CBS isn’t really known for its genre TV dramas. Their shows tend to be mystery, medical, police, or law procedurals. So when CBS acquired the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel Under the Dome, it was a sign that CBS was trying something different to lure in new viewers. While Under the Dome isn’t the best genre fare out there, it still brings in millions of viewers for CBS. Now the network has picked up another genre TV series from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, the same production company behind Under the Dome.
Deadline reports that CBS won a bidding war for the science fiction TV series Extant. It received a straight-to-series order for 13 episodes, which will air next summer on the broadcast network. During the bidding war, Extant was heavily sought after by cable networks such as FX and TNT. Extant landed on CBS because of what the network could offer them that cable could not: the potential for higher ratings.
CBS is planning to launch Extant next summer by programming it after Under the Dome, which was recently ordered for a second season. Pairing Under the Dome and Extant is a logical choice, considering they are both from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, and both are genre fare. Spielberg is set to executive produce both shows.
Extant follows a couple with a human-like android son created by the father, and another child, possibly an alien, on the way. The mother is an astronaut who tries to reconnect with her family when she returns home after a year in outer space. Her experiences in space will lead to events that drastically change the course of human history for all mankind.
Although the series has a very high-concept premise, the script is to be said to be very grounded. The spec script from new writer Mickey Fisher was one of the hottest scripts in Hollywood recently. There were some talks that Extant could be expanded for a full-length feature film, but now it is firmly in the TV world.
It is interesting that more and more broadcast networks are turning to genre TV series for higher ratings. The void created by the series finale of Lost has yet to be filled, so it seems like networks are scrambling to take that mantle of cross-over genre hit. It also appears that the summer season is actually serving up some quality shows now.
Extant sounds like a good concept, so hopefully it will be a better science fiction series than Under the Dome. It was almost surprising that a TV series based on Stephen King’s novel could be so boring and silly.
Producer Greg Walker (Vegas) will serve as the series’ showrunner and executive producer with Steven Spielberg, Brooklyn Weaver, Justin Falvey, and Darryl Frank, while Adam Rodin will co-produce. Mickey Fisher wrote the script.
Extant will air next summer with 13 new episodes on CBS.